Record always clipping

I need some handholding. I’ve used Audacity before to digitize analog recordings (LP and tape) but now things aren’t looking right. It’s new hardware and software: Asus GL753VE laptop with StarTech USB to Stereo Audio External Sound Card (is that a naive choice for audio quality?) runiing Linux Mint 18.2 and Audacity 2.1.2. When I start recording the audio track appears compressed and unhelpful - 1st screenshot. [attachment=1] When I Normalize I seem to see clipping - 2nd screenshot. This happens even when I reduce input to less than 10% - screenshot 3. Can someone suggest what I need to change?
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Could you share the Product ID of the StarTech USB to Stereo Audio External Sound Card?

If you have connected a Line level output to a Mic input this may cause clipping of the preamp and converter.

Sorry I didn’t see your response sooner. The device is identified as StarTech part # ICUSBAUDIOB. i found that if I turn down volume on the stereo amp to nearly inaudible level then clipping is eliminated but background noise is very high. Audacity noise reduction tool seemed to do a decent job of cleaning things up to listenable quality. Still seems like a long way around for what should have been a very clean signal coming out of stereo system.

In the clipping one I see that you have the input (pic of microphone) all the way up? Try reducing that until no clipping seen. I would rather have it a little low and then raise the level after recorded.

I think that’s the wrong thing.

I have several Startech ICUSB, etc. as in that picture. They’re “Stereo” only in that they support stereo headphones. The other side is support for a mono microphone. If you look very carefully at your soundwaves, the two match. So that’s not stereo. It’s two copies of Left.

I use a Behringer UCA-202 stereo adapter.

It has a place to plug headphones to monitor what you’re doing independent of the computer and it’s certified for Overdubbing.

I have two.